WEDA Academy Update – Kathy Heady, Academy Manager

It is a beautiful fall-like day as I am writing my final WEDA Academy update.  In its efforts to meet and exceed member expectations, WEDA is looking to make some changes to the Academy in 2024.  One of the exciting changes is to make Academy programming free to WEDA members.  WEDA is also looking to plan and execute Academy programming differently and as a result, I am winding down my Academy Manager role and will be finished at the end of November.  It has been a pleasure to build and grow the WEDA Academy programming and I will continue to be active in WEDA as a member.

The WEDA Academy held two outstanding programs this Fall.  On November 8, the WEDA Academy held its final webinar of 2023, Fundamentals of Industrial and Business Parks.  A big thank you to course instructors – James Otterstein, CEcD, EDFP, Economic Development Manager, Rock County and Coleman Peiffer, AICP, Manager Customer and Community Development, Alliant Energy.  This course provided an introduction to the fundamentals of industrial and business park development, focusing on key considerations such as needs assessment, planning and design, marketing, and deal structuring.

On September 27 at the Jefferson Street Inn, Wausau, the WEDA Academy held an in-person comprehensive program Tax Increment Financing 201. A grateful thank you to our highly experienced instructors – Philip Cosson, CIPMA, Senior Municipal Advisor/Board Chair and Greg Johnson, CIPMA, Senior Municipal Advisor, Ehlers; Randy Fifrick, Economic Development Manager, City of Wausau, Community Development Department and Melissa Hunt, CEcD, EDFP.

An in-person Academy program is already being planned for January 31, 2024, just prior to the Governor’s Conference in the Wisconsin Dells.  The program, Energizing the Future: Exploring Key Trends in Energy, will be a lively panel discussion that will delve into the dynamic world of energy and participants will gain insights into the latest trends shaping the industry’s future. The program will explore the intersection of technology, artificial intelligence in business innovation and manufacturing, cybersecurity, grid resiliency, and energy equity as we pave the way for a sustainable and equitable energy landscape.

I hope that you will be able to join us for WEDA Academy programs in 2024. As a reminder, be sure to look for approved credits/points for continuing education/recertification on the course registration information.

Again, it has been a pleasure serving as your Manager of the WEDA Academy.